The brush fires burning in the greenbelt near Quintard Street in South Beach started just after noon on Saturday.
"I'm just concerned that it was set. If it happened naturally then there's nothing you can do about it. But if it didn't happen naturally, then you've got to worry," resident Joe Dasaro said.
The brush fire quickly grew to four alarms and threanted a row of town homes on Father Capodanno Boulevard.
Micheal Prisco was headed to a charity event when he saw the blaze get dangerously close to his South Beach property.
"I made a u-turn and went in the backyard with the garden hose and hosed down...everything I could," Prisco said.
Prisco was getting ready to evacuate. But after a good soaking, by air and 168 firefighters on the ground, the blaze was under control in two hours.
"It's scary because you see that in California. This is New York City we don't live like that - outside with hoses trying to fight fire," Prisco said.
One firefighter suffered minor injuries and was taken to Staten Island University hospital.
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